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NextGen: Loss of West Kootenay contract ‘shocking’

Four non-union employees will likely be out of a job at the end of March
Photo: NextGen/Facebook

Losing the West Kootenay public transit contract to an outsider after more than four decades of service has left NextGen Transit, formerly Trail Transit, feeling blindsided.

Worse yet, the company says four non-union employees will likely be out of a job at the end of March.

On Jan. 16, BC Transit announced PW Transit Canada had been awarded the West Kootenay public service contract, effective April 1. The base contract is for five years with allowable extensions to nine years.

“This came as a shock to NextGen Transit, as we have been the contractor for this system for 42 years,” Trevor Stach, CEO, NextGen Transit, told the Trail Times.

“BC Transit elected to not allow us to move forward in the process early, not allowing us to compete on costs.

“We have filed an appeal of that decision, but the contract was awarded despite the appeal process not being complete.”

As far as jobs, Stach says all unionized members will be hired by the new contractor, with the same collective agreement governing their wages and benefits.

“However, four non-union staff will be given lay-off notices effective March 31, 2024.”

It is not known at this time if they will be hired by the new contractor, Stach added.

“NextGen Transit will continue to provide transit services in the East Kootenay, but find it disappointing that the decision makers have elected to award a local contact to a large foreign company, as while PW Transit does have Canadian roots they are currently owned by Student Busing America based in New Jersey.”

According to PWTransit Canada’s website, “PWTransit Canada is part of the Pacific Western Group of Companies, a privately held, 100 per cent Canadian-owned corporation with over 5,400 employees across Canada.”

Student Transportation of America announced it had expanded Canadian operations through a major acquisition in a June 16, 2022 news release.

“Student Transportation of America/Student Transportation of Canada (STA/STC), North America’s third-largest provider of school bus transportation services, is pleased to announce it has completed its acquisition of Pacific Western Transportation (PWT), the largest privately-owned transportation company in Canada,” the company stated in the release.

“The acquisition will add more than 5,000 employees to the STA/STC family of companies and 4,100 vehicles to the STA/STC fleet, including 950 alternative fuels and electric buses.”

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Sheri Regnier

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